Monsanto gains market share in Latin America

Monsanto sought to reassure disheartened investors on Wednesday, saying it was gaining market share in Latin America and that farmers were enthusiastic about its new U.S. seed product lineup. The company, which has been struggling with a raft of competitive problems in both its chemicals and seeds and traits businesses, reiterated a forecast for mid-teens percentage growth in earnings per share beginning in 2011.

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Franklin Templeton expanding in agriculture, energy

The real estate advisory unit of Franklin Templeton Investments plans to expand into agriculture, energy, water, and other areas that reflect rising demand for food and energy, the investment company said on Monday.

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INTERVIEW-Cargill’s Black River targets food, land deals

Agribusiness giant Cargill’s $6 billion Black River arm is making its next big bet on changing eating habits in major developing nations, buying into dairy farms in Asia and breeding fish in Latin America.

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Funds flow toward farmland as experts eye deals

As economic fears spark riots in Greece and stock market sell-offs, a range of institutional and corporate interests said this week they were moving money into what they see as the relative safety of global farmland.

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US millers, bakers urge caution in GMO wheat work

As seed developers around the world work to develop a genetically modified wheat, U.S. millers and bakers - formerly staunch opponents of such efforts - are offering their support, but insisting they need to be more involved before any biotech wheat is brought to market.

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Pinstripes, pitchforks and profits

Many firms in Boston’s financial district invest in things you can’t touch: currency futures, index options, credit derivatives and so on. But on the 17th floor of a high-rise office tower here, more than a 1,000 miles from the nation’s Midwestern farmbelt, buttoned-down strategists at Hancock Agricultural Investment Group are wagering serious money, if not quite betting the farm, on corn, soybeans and other crops.

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Food: Is Monsanto the answer or the problem?

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, had only months to live when he received a visit from an old friend, Rob Fraley, chief of technology for Monsanto Co.

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Biotech companies race for drought-tolerant crops

JOHNSTON, Iowa (Reuters)- Outside the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc, the pavement is iced over and workers arriving for the day are bundled up against the cold. 

But inside a laboratory, a warm, man-made drought is in force, curling the leaves of rows of fledgling corn plants as million-dollar machines and scientists in white coats monitor their distress.

This work is part of a global race pitting Pioneer, Monsanto Co and other biotech companies against each other in a race to develop new strains of corn and other crops that can thrive when water is in short supply.  

“Equipping plants to be able to maintain productivity in the driest years is of critical importance,” said Bill Niebur, global vice president for research and development at Pioneer, a division of DuPont. “Drought is a global problem and we recognize the threat that comes with climate change. We’ve got our top talent in our organization working on this.”

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Biotech dairy debate

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan 18 (Reuters) - Five years ago, Missouri dairy farmer Leroy Shatto was struggling to stay in business. Today, his herd has more than doubled amid a surge in demand for his product. The difference: a marketing campaign touting Shatto milk as free of artificial hormones.

Osborn, Missouri-based Shatto milk comes plain or flavored, but all comes from cows free of the genetically engineered hormone supplements that many conventional dairies give cows to to boost their milk production.

“That is what the consumers want now,” said Shatto, who runs a small family farm of 220 cows. “People are demanding this stuff not to be in their milk. If I had 100 more cows tomorrow, I still couldn’t keep caught up with demand.”

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FEATURE-Slow death consumes Oklahoma mining town

PICHER, Okla., April 24 (Reuters) - The death of their small town is not coming easily for the people of Picher, Oklahoma. But it is coming.

For 23 years now, the 1,500-plus residents of this historic mining community in northeast Oklahoma have known they were in trouble, trapped by growing evidence that waste from mining operations the area once thrived on was poisoning the air, the water and the land.

They have known about the lead contamination, the learning disabilities suffered by area children, the declining property values, and the cavernous holes found around the area, including one dubbed by locals as "hell's half-acre."

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